About Amber

For the ancient tree resin to become amber, it has to have been submerged, without oxygen, for at least twenty million years.
 
Baltic amber, from the Baltic region in Europe, is the largest source of amber. It is estimated to be from forty to sixty million years old.

The Healing Effects of Amber

Baltic amber contains significant levels of succinic acid. It is believed by some  that this is absorbed into the skin and has an analgesic effect (the same principal as a nicotine patch) which has a calming effect and also acts as a pain reliever.

 

Child amber jewellery is designed to be worn, it is not for chewing.

 

We recommend that a child should be supervised while wearing jewellery.

 

 

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  • Amber is one of the few gemstones of organic, rather than mineral, origin. Essentially, amber is a fossilised resin from prehistoric, now extinct, species of resin producing trees which flourished in large forests, some more than 100 million years ago.

  • Animals, plants, and insects became trapped and entombed in this resin, providing a unique and detailed snapshot of life millions of years ago.

  • Resin is not to be confused with sap, which consists of sugars, water and dissolved minerals. The sticky extrusive mass that comes from a cut on a pine tree is resin.

  • If the resin has hardened in recent times, it is called copal.

  • Presently certain trees produce large quantities of resin; the Kauri gum from New Zealand (Agathis australis), Sundarac from Australia (Tetraclinis articulata), the Gum Arabic tree from Africa (Acacia arabica) and the Algarroba tree from South America (Hymenaea courbaril).

  • As amber in its natural state is quite brittle, it is heated to harden it and  make it easier to carve and to drill holes in beads. This process is also used to enhance, and change, the colour.

  • This method was first used In ancient Rome, where Baltic amber was the most valuable of gems, (more valuable than gold) so it has been the standard way for processing amber for over four thousand years.

Shortage of Baltic Amber

  • The largest amber mine in the world, which was on Russian territory at Kaliningrad Oblast (between Lithuania and Poland) was flooded in 2004.

  • Initially no-one was too worried by this as there was a substantial stockpile of amber. But as the years have passed it is apparent that the Russian government will allow the mine to stay submerged -and the amber stock pile has now been used up.

  • Production is rumoured to be down by 90 per cent or less of what it was previously.

Pressed Amber

  • Our pressed Baltic amber beads are made in Poland by pressing small pieces of amber together, without additives, to form a block from which beads of darker than usual tones with attractive swirls are cut.

  • Some inferior grade pressed beads are made from mixtures of amber, copal and even plastic.

  • Our pressed beads, like all of our beads, are 100%, 40 to 60 million years old, genuine Baltic amber and are chemically indistinguishable from untreated amber. They are certified by the Polish Amber Chamber of Commerce.

  • There is a shortage of jewellery grade Baltic amber and round amber beads cut from "natural" amber are difficult to source and are very expensive. The reality is that most jewellery amber is heat treated to control colour and harden the amber for cutting and drilling.

Callibrated Amber Beads

  • These beads are fashioned by cutting perfectly round beads from a piece of amber.

  • Due to the expense of this process most large size beads are now cut from pressed amber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What is Amber?